It's no surprise that your vehicle will drive better if all the wheels are pointed in the same direction. That's called wheel alignment. If your wheels are out of alignment you may notice that your vehicle pulls to one side or the other.
Something that you won't notice right away, but you will if you keep driving when you're out of alignment, is that your tires are wearing unevenly and fairly quickly.. That's because when the vehicle is pulling to one side, you have to steer it back straight. The outside of the tire just wears out fast because you're constantly turning, which can be very exhausting on a long road trip – fighting to keep the vehicle going straight down the road.
Some of the things that commonly throw a wheel out of alignment are slamming into a pothole, smacking a curb or something like a rock. And it doesn't have to be a big shock, it can just be the regular bumps and bangs of daily driving that add up and eventually take your vehicle out of alignment. That's why your owner's manual or service advisor may suggest having your alignment checked periodically.
With an alignment service, we measure each wheel's alignment and to see where they are relative to factory specifications. While we have the vehicle on the alignment rack, we inspect the tires for wear as well as the suspension and steering components for damage or wear – things that can contribute to alignment problems. With some vehicles you can adjust all four wheels so we bring all wheels into alignment. On those vehicles where you can only adjust the front wheels, we bring the front into alignment relative to the rear.
Cost varies by whether or not it's two or four wheel adjustable. Four-wheel drive vehicles may have an additional charge because they're more difficult to align. At any rate, it's cheaper than having to replace tires every few months.
If it's been a while since you've had your wheels aligned, bring your vehicle for an alignment check.
To get an estimate on a repair, visit the repair estimator.